FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Maple League of Universities chosen as partner in Business+Higher Education Roundtable funding renewal.
December 15, 2022 – Business+Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), with support from the Government of Canada, has committed $224,917.47 to the Maple League for the continued expansion and development of the Online Learning and Technology Consultants (OLTC) program in their most recent round of funding.
This program was designed by Dr. Jessica Riddell (Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence), Scott Stoddard (then Director of Information Technology), and undergraduate student Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfaçon at Bishop’s University in the early days of the global pandemic. Training students in pedagogy, technology, and critical empathy, the team took a transformative approach to pandemic pedagogy by creating inclusive virtual learning communities. The OLTC program began as a pilot at Bishop’s University in May 2020 and then scaled across four universities in the Maple League in 2021 - 2022. The OLTC program was delivered in curricular and co-curricular pathways at our member universities, engaging students from across the Maple League in transformative experiential and work-integrated learning.
Dr. Jessica Riddell, Executive Director of the Maple League and OLTC co-founder, notes, “As we move into a post-COVID world, many of the lessons we have gleaned in a time of disruption will inform classroom design and delivery and should enhance the delivery of a 21st-century liberal education. The hope is that we can expand this to universities across Canada in the future so other universities can benefit from this model of student co-design and authentic collaboration of a 21st-century education.”
In 2022, the program won the D2L Innovation Award, the highest national recognition for teaching and learning with a collaborative team approach. The Maple League is extremely proud to have created entrepreneurial spaces where innovative programs such as this one can be created and expanded through funding. The OLTC program engages students as partners in the design of COVID classrooms to improve inclusion, equity, accessibility, and transformative learning. At every stage, the program intentionally works to create spaces where the reversal of traditional paradigms generates rich spaces for student-centred innovation, which transforms mindsets and perspectives about what is possible for everyone involved.
Dr. Jeff Hennessy, Chair of the Maple League Governing Board and Provost at Mount Allison University notes, “The OLTC program provides opportunities for students to develop key transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership, digital literacy, analytical skills, written and verbal communication, and knowledge mobilization. The benefits of these skills reach far beyond the student employee; they have large impacts on the institution, the higher education sector, and the communities within which these universities are embedded.”
Loch Baillie, OLTC Project Manager, states, "I have been involved with the OLTC program since its inception in 2020. My initial work as a consultant helped me better understand who I am as a learner and collaborator, and since graduating from Bishop’s and becoming a project manager, I have gained an even deeper understanding of my work ethic and future goals. To me, BHER’s generous funding guarantees the continuation of the important work we are doing in Canada’s higher education landscape — and the continuation of my own professional development."
As the Online Learning and Technology Consultants (OLTC) program is expanded across the four Maple League universities, the ultimate goal is to deliver a technology-rich 21st-century liberal education in a post-COVID world. This program will not only educate students about career opportunities within the post-secondary industry and strengthen the WIL ecosystem within post-secondary institutions via curricular and co-curricular approaches but also create WIL opportunities that seek to engage underrepresented student communities and develop partnerships with key stakeholders across the four Maple League universities that will help expand the awareness of an innovative model of WIL, by treating universities as industry partners.
About the Maple League
The Maple League is made up of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier – who together form an alliance of small, rural, undergraduate liberal education institutions with Francophone heritage and a commitment to truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, we provide extraordinary opportunities to transform as leaders, scholars, and institutions. The Maple League creates distinctive learning environments that ensure our graduates are capable of navigating an increasingly complex world as citizens and leaders dedicated to the values of a just and civil society. For more information, visit our website: www.mapleleague.ca
The Business+Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Since 2015, BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians, boost innovation and drive collaboration. Learn more at www.bher.ca. Visit our WIL Hub for ways to explore, invest in and create quality WIL opportunities.
To view the press release as a PDF click below.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Jessica Riddell
Executive Director, The Maple League of Universities
Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Full Professor, Department of English, Bishop's University
3M National Teaching Fellow (2015)
Director, University Communications
Director of Marketing & Communications
Mount Allison University
Director of Marketing & Communications
St. FX University